A great BDSM play party guest is unashamed of their desires, aware of their boundaries and ready to mingle. Participation isn’t essential at a bondage event, so only join in if you’re comfortable with what's going on.
Appreciative watching is fine, too. Take time to figure out what’s acceptable and what kind of behaviour will upset others. If you’re new to BDSM, just ask the host or have a play pal to help you get initiated.
Even if you've been around the BDSM community for a while, it’s worth checking on the rules of engagement with an organiser.
This is a dynamic community and the conventions around the night's activities are never set in stone. Some play party guests will arrive with tools and toys for pre-planned kinky scenes, but others revel in spontaneity, fetish apparel and the excitement of having an audience.
Once things get started, you can begin to play or participate from the sidelines – just wait till you’re invited. Many sex party guests play with new partners during the evening because it’s safe and there’s always someone to call a timeout when needed.
Parties usually provide gloves, lube or condoms, and it’s fair to expect your host to take some degree of responsibility for what goes on.
Even so, BDSM play and/or group sex can be disorientating, so don’t rely on anyone else to guarantee your personal safety.
Always chat to potential sex partners about your stance on safe sex and check that they respect your wishes by wearing a condom or dam.
Sex party guests will be told about the dress code beforehand, either in a forum chat or on the invite. If you love your rubber or your PVC skirts and thigh-high fetish boots, then this is the time to bust them out.
For more body-conscious guests, plain black is always good; you could accessorise with some kinky jewellery or footwear to ease yourself into the lifestyle gently.
Denim jeans have no place at a play party; these are the bane of fetish freaks lives. They epitomise the straight, conventional, American pie lifestyle we try to escape from, so are best to be avoided.
Most people on the scene dislike being introduced as a dom or a sub, or having someone introduce themselves that way. When people want to know about your fetish, they’ll ask.
We're all dynamic people: BDSM is part of our lifestyle but it’s not the only way we want to be defined, so chat about other things and let the inevitable kinky talk flow more organically.
If you meet a contact from your day-to-day life, play it cool. Smile and be friendly but resist the urge to gossip or chat about personal issues. After all, people have good reasons for keeping their bondage life private.
Dramatic titles can come across as intimidating to strangers, but most people are cool with scene names because we understand not everyone is out among their friends or family.
Regardless of how they identify themselves, be polite and respectful to every individual at a play party, friends are an asset in our community so value everyone you click with.
If it’s your first fetish party, then you may feel stunned by what’s unfolding; naked people, the equipment and the kinky scenes can be overwhelming. Take a good look because that’s what it’s there for, but never gawk, get in between people to improve your view, and never participate unless invited to do so.
There are indiscretions which can get you kicked out of a bondage gathering, but being a play party guest boils down to one word: respect.
In our community people can be very protective of their bodies in non-sexual encounters, so it’s common sense to ask permission before making any contact, even if you’re just going in for a hug.
Also, be open and ready to engage in conversation with every guest – don’t just make a bee-line for the hotties and don’t randomly proposition people. You might feel caught up in the moment, but this kind of behaviour can get you labelled as a creep, even if you really don’t deserve it.
When in doubt, just watch how others interact. Kinky events are not swingers clubs, so never assume. Like every culture, we have our taboos. Touching someone’s collar is the fetish equivalent of pinching a stranger’s bum on the bus, but holding a Mistress' crop when asked shows excellent manners.
Finally, always leave at an appropriate time, thank the organisers and have a chat about how it was for you. They’ll be happy to hear any constructive ideas for the next BDSM community event and as you’ve behaved so well, you’ll be first on the guest list.
Cover image: torbakhopper. Flickr Creative Commons.
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